A blog about my adventures as a teacher and a traveler.
At the moment, my focus is on two trips to the village of Pommern, Tanzania,
in Africa with the organization Global Volunteers -- one in 2010 and one in 2012.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Iringa Town!

Yesterday we traveled from Dar es Salaam to Iringa. It was a 10-hour trip, including a lunch break in Morogoro and a rest stop at a place called Al-Jazeera Restaurant to stretch our legs. Dar es Salaam was bustling with activity as we left, lots of people on their way to church as evidenced by the Bibles they were carrying.

Al-Jazeera Restaurant, as the sign implies

Tanzania is approximately half Christian and half Muslim.
We saw lots of churches and lots of mosques.

As we traveled through the countryside, there were lots of small towns along the paved road between Dar and Morogoro, a distance of 200 km (about 120 mi). On a two-lane road, that part of the trip took about 3.5 hours. Lunch was fantastic at a hotel buffet.

Hustle and bustle in the smaller towns between Dar and Iringa

As we passed Morogoro and went on toward Iringa, towns became fewer and farther between, though it was nowhere near as sparsely populated as the African country of Namibia where I traveled 4 years ago. We dealt with a few switchbacks through mountains and some road construction. I'd like to propose that not only are death and taxes inevitable, so is road construction!

Mountain switchbacks

Road construction

It was interesting to watch the scenery and people as we drove. Plains and mountains and a wildlife park. Some people dressed in Western clothes, others in the brightly colored dresses of Africa, and still others in traditional Maasai garb. We saw young boys herding cattle, villagers selling goods at roadside shops in the towns, people walking or biking everywhere, women carrying babies in wraps on their backs, and children just sitting along the roadside watching the cars pass.

Maasai men along the road; yes, one of them is talking on a cell phone!

Herding cattle

Bicycles carrying large loads!

Maasai man and child sitting along the road

Typical rural Tanzanian homes

In Mikumi National Park, we saw a herd of 6 elephants, including a baby and a very large one that we assume to be a male. This was particularly awesome to me because elephants were the one animal we really didn't see properly in Etosha Park in Naimbia. In fact, all we had managed to see was one elephant's rear end as it disappeared back into the bush. In Mikumi we also saw a bunch of baboons (including babies!) and a herd of impala. We saw 2 giraffes and a few zebra, but they were too far from the road to see properly or photograph. Some of my team members and I will likely take one of the weekends while we are here to go on a safari trip through Ruaha National Park where we will get much more opportunity to see the animals.

Entering Mikumi National Park (the highway passes through the park)

Baboons on the road!

They're considered pests, but I think they're so cute!!



Another 300 km (180 mi) beyond Morogoro and we finally arrived in Iringa. Unfortunately it was after dark when we got here, but we spent the night at a quaint yet very comfortable Lutheran mission house.

Sunset over the mountains as we approached Iringa

The eating venues Global Volunteers usually uses in Iringa were all closed because it
was so late when we arrived, but we found a new place which turned out to have
DELICIOUS food. Kendra and I ordered the same dish and were surprised to receive a
plate piled higher than most American restaurants would serve, filled with chicken,
spaghetti, rice, egg, and chips (aka french fries). We dug into our Kilimanjaro-sized
plates and ate as much as we could! (Kilimanjaro is the tallest mountain in Africa and is
located in northern Tanzania.)

The room Kendra and I shared at the Lutheran guest house in Iringa. The white things above
the beds are mosquito nets, keeping us safe from malaria while we slept.

The bathroom with our room. Notice that the shower is not blocked off by any curtain;
the toilet, sink, and shower are just all together like old friends! And....it would have
been helpful to know that it was necessary to flip that switch to the left of the
bathroom door in order to get hot water. Oh well, lesson learned. (It was a very
cold shower that night, but it prepared us for Pommern!)

This morning we've done some shopping in Iringa and met several people who will be an essential part of our time in Pommern. First we met Mama Tony (Swahili women often take the name "Mama" followed by the name of her oldest child/son). She is the cook for the boarding house where we will be staying in Pommern. Next we met Shadrack, who is the headmaster at the secondary school in Pommern. His uncle, a local pastor in Iringa, just passed away so he will be spending a couple of days here in Iringa before returning to Pommern. Finally, we met the general secretary to the bishop of the Iringa Diocese of the Lutheran Church. It is this Diocese that supports the Pommern Secondary School.

Eating breakfast at the Lutheran guest house: Kendra, me, Mama Tony,
Amy, Sonia, Jack, and Mohammed (photo taken by Edward)

At the bishop's office: Shadrack, Amy, Jack, and Sonia (photo taken by Edward)

Shopping with Mama Tony at a supermarket -- one room with shelves stacked high around
the perimeter. Mama Tony is at the counter; Kendra, Amy, and Jack are browsing the shelves.

The fruit and vegetable market where Mama Tony made some more purchases.
We carried her bags and tried to stay out of her way!

I was disappointed to learn that both the public primary school and the private secondary school are on vacation for the next two weeks, so there are not many students around. About 20 (out of 640) have stayed on campus at the secondary school, which is a boarding school, and I have been assured I will get to visit and work with them in small groups and then see the actual school the final 3 days we are here. Not what I was expecting, but that's Africa for you! We will also be helping to construct a kitchen at the secondary school while we are there, as well as assisting at the local clinic and just spending time with the children who live in the village.

Blessings and peace from Africa!

1 comment:

RachieKC said...

Karen! It all sounds sooo amazing and I can't wait to hear details and see pictures when you get home. :)